The demise of the newspaper will make us better off

Much has been made of the impending demise of the newspaper, as the Old Media (With a few exceptions) has steadfastly refused to embrace the new opportunities of digital delivery of content.  Many seem to think that, without newspapers, we will have no accountability, no one to peel back the layers and expose the wrongdoing in the world and in our government.

Meanwhile, Comedy Central and The Daily Show are making a pretty strong case that we may actually have more accountability.

Stewart’s point was that Wall Street got fat off of all our pension plans, 401K’s and long-term investments, while the “Fast Money” crowd cashed in our long-term investments — and CNBC was complicit in the entire gambit…

Click through below and watch the video, which I believe includes unaired content, and watch Stewart skewer Jim Cramer over CNBC’s role in our financial mess.

Far from needing newspapers to keep everyone honest, perhaps the time has arrived when newspapers are actually holding us back.  If they go away, we won’t see an end to journalism.  In fact, with greater freedom, unshackled from the old ideas of what journalism is, we may see a renaissance.  In some ways, with anyone who cares to observe and share the world, we already have.  People can complain about the quality of much of this sharing all they want, but the fact that much of it is well-produced, well-thought-out, and spot-on is inescapable.

The world does not need newspapers.  It simply needs good journalism.  And that shows no signs of going away.

via Jon Stewart slaughters crazy finance guy Jim Cramer — video – Boing Boing.

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The “iPod of books” will be something like this

There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the Amazon Kindle is “the iPod of books”.  People who aren’t desperately trying to attract search traffic will tell you the truth – niether the Kindle nor any of its competitors are anywhere close to having the impact on the industry that the iPod has had.

But if you’re looking for a game changer, look at stuff like this.  For $40 more than a Kindle, you get a full computer.

The specs, from their site:

  • 9.4″ x 7″ x 1.4″ for 2 lbs (with keyboard)
  • ARM Texas Instruments OMAP3 chip
  • 1024×600 8.9” screen
  • Storage: 8GB micro SD card
  • Wifi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth
  • 3-dimensional accelerometer
  • Speakers, micro and headphone
  • 6 USB 2.0 (3 internal, 2 external, 1 mini)
  • 10h to 15 hours of battery life

Sure, there are netbooks out there for less money.  But detaching the keyboard (or even not purchasing it, for $100 less) leaves you with a tablet with a ten hour battery.  Sure, eInk ebook readers have a longer life between chargings, but how often are any of us away from a plug for more than ten hours?

You give up the ubiquitous internet connection and a bit of battery life that the Kindle offers, but you gain so much in openness and flexibility.  You have a Linux-based operating system and a touchscreen.  What more do you want from an ebook reader?  It comes with WiFi and a web browser, so any ebook store that isn’t closed to the non-Kindle-owning-public like Amazon’s is easily accessible.

I want one of these.

I am curious, though, as to what they mean by “3-dimensional accelerometer”.  It sounds like something the marketing department made up.

Thanks to Alex for pointing this out.

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It’s not clear that reading is really evolving

CBC said Shortcovers is like a bookstore in your pocket – no matter you are, in the back of a cab, at a Starbucks or Tim’s – you can find your next great read, click, buy and get it downloaded instantly. You only need your existing mobile device: like an iPhone, Blackberry, or a web browser. That’s a huge convenience for consumers, especially because you can use the mobile phone you already have vs some special ereader.

Perhaps it’s sour grapes because their PR people didn’t reply to my inquiry, but I don’t find very much exciting or innovative about Shortcovers.  Or maybe they’re just being secretive leading up to their big launch, promised sometime this month.

The idea seems to be very similar to what Amazon has done with the Kindle, except not restricted to a particular device.  While this is a fine service that’s sure to get some use, it’s hardly ground-breaking.

However, they hint at “surprises” when they launch, so we could still see something amazing.  At the very least, increased competition in the market should be good for consumers.

via Shortcovers — Leading the evolution of reading.

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Ebooks and strange bedfellows

If your lover is an erotica-lover, get him or her one of the incredibly sexy erotic ebooks available at Starting at $2.65, these ebooks can be downloaded and enjoyed with privacy on the computer, iphone or ipod touch. (Or, if you really want to splurge, pair the ebook up with an ebook reader, $265 and up.)

A nice ebook reader could do the same thing for erotic literature that the internet-connected computer did for erotic movies.  Never underestimate the power of the porn industry to drive technological innovation.

via Denver Sex and Romance Examiners: Unique, sexy gifts for Valentine’s Day.

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The Kindle wouldn’t have happened without the iPod

But even the 500,000 estimate would mean that the Kindle is outpacing iPod unit sales in the iPod’s second year on the market, when it sold only 378,000 units. That means if you turned back the clock and launched both at the same time, the Kindle would be outselling the iPod by 32 percent.

The problem here is that you can’t compare sales figures.  The Kindle is, in some sense, standing on the shoulders of the iPod.  The iPod changed the way people thought about buying and listening to music.  The Kindle hasn’t even yet earned the “iPod of books” title that was nevertheless bestowed upon it almost immediately.

Yes, Amazon has sold a lot of Kindles.  Yes, they sell them so fast they can’t keep them in stock.  But the Kindle is just a pretty slick new package on essentially the same old business model.  It hasn’t fundamentally changed the market.

If you had released the two at the same time, Kindle sales would have been much lower because people would have had no idea what to do with it.  The iPod paved the way for the very idea of the Kindle.  It gave it a context in people’s minds, something similar that it could be compared to.  It’s impossible to measure what this did for Kindle sales, but it did something, and you can’t ignore that something in making hypothetical projections.

Article: Is The Kindle Outpacing Early iPod Sales? –

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